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Daniel Auteuil stars as the infamous Marquis de Sade, who at the beginning of Sade, is serving a sentence in Paris' grim Saint Lazarde prison. The year is 1794, and Sade is being persecuted for his steadfast atheism, which runs counter to the beliefs of Robespierre, France's terrifying revolutionary leader. The Marquis is granted something of a reprieve when he is transferred -- courtesy of his mistress Sensible (Marianne Denicourt) -- to Picpus, a former convent that now serves as the equivalent of a luxury prison. Although Picpus is not without its own guillotine and mass grave, Sade… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Sade is Quills without the hyperbole and melodrama."
‑ Tom Sime, Dallas Morning News
"This Sade is hardly a perverse, dangerous libertine and agitator -- which would have made for better drama. He's just a sad aristocrat in tattered finery, and the film seems as deflated as he does."
‑ Loren King, Chicago Tribune
"[A] treacherously seductive and highly disturbing film..."
‑ MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher
"The Marquis de Sade couldn't have been as dull a person as this film makes him out to be."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"More concerned with Sade's ideas than with his actions. The movie achieves as great an impact by keeping these thoughts hidden as... [Quills] did by showing them."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"In Auteil's less dramatic but equally incisive performance, he's a charismatic charmer likely to seduce and conquer."
‑ Marta Barber, Miami Herald
"If you're looking for a smart, nuanced look at de Sade and what might have happened at Picpus, Sade is your film."
‑ Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle
"A fiercely clever and subtle film, capturing the precarious balance between the extravagant confidence of the exiled aristocracy and the cruel earnestness of the victorious revolutionaries."
‑ Rich Cline, Film Threat
"The reason to see "Sade" lay with the chemistry and complex relationship between the marquis (Auteil) and Emilie (Le Besco)."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"The movie fails to portray its literarily talented and notorious subject as anything much more than a dirty old man."
‑ Rod Armstrong,
"It's a rosy coming-of-age romp that refuses to see the horror even in the severed heads from the guillotine."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Lacks dramatic punch and depth."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"This time out, [Sade] is an unsettlingly familiar figure -- in turns loyal and deceitful, responsible and reckless, idealistically selfless and coldly self-interested."
‑ Nick Carter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Featuring a dangerously seductive performance from the great Daniel Auteuil, "Sade" covers the same period as Kaufmann's "Quills" with more unsettlingly realistic results."
‑ Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"It's a decent glimpse into a time period, and an outcast, that is no longer accessible, but it doesn't necessarily shed more light on its subject than the popular predecessor."
‑ Rachel Gordon,
More reviews for Sade on Rotten Tomatoes